April 13, 2017
Boeing, Chicago, Ill., recently announced that its 787 Dreamliners will soon be manufactured with the world's first FAA-approved titanium metal additive manufactured (AM) components with the help of Norsk Titanium AS, Norway.
While GE first used metal AM to create fuel nozzles for aircraft engines several years ago, Boeing and Norsk state that their titanium parts are the first structural components using metal AM designed to bear the stress of an airframe in flight.
These new titanium AM parts could potentially save Boeing as much as $3 million per plane if they opt to manufacture as many components out of metal AM titanium as it can. For the moment, however, only four different parts will be printed, with plans to expand into 2018.
Boeing's move towards metal AM is a major step in an effort to boost the overall profitability of the 787 and a sign of growing industrial acceptance of the durability of metal AM components. Boeing and Norsk worked together for over a year to design the four 787 parts and obtain FAA certification.